Thailand’s Wonggorn wants more after historic achievement
Bangkok: Thailand may have already made history by reaching their first-ever AFC U23 Championship knockout stage but Jaroensak Wonggorn isn’t satisfied yet.
The midfielder’s fifth minute penalty secured Thailand a 1-1 draw with Iraq in their final Group A match on Tuesday, giving Thailand the point needed to seal their place in the knockout stage for the first time in three appearances at the AFC U23 Championship.
Wonggorn admitted he felt tremendous pressure when taking the spot-kick but the 22-year-old said head coach Akira Nishino’s faith in him and the hours spent in training boosted his confidence.
Bangkok: Head coach Akira Nishino believes his Thailand players have proved themselves more than capable of competing with Asia’s finest after they reached the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 quarter-finals following Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Iraq.
Jaroensak Wonggorn’s first-half penalty ultimately proved enough for the Thais to advance to the last eight as runners-up in Group A following last week’s win over Bahrain and loss to table-topping Australia.
With Thailand now set to face the winners of Group B in the knockout phase, Nishino wasted little time in praising his charges after a night of high drama at the Rajamangala Stadium.
Bangkok: Thailand booked their place in the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 quarter-finals on Tuesday as Jaroensak Wonggorn’s first-half penalty laid the foundation for a 1-1 draw with Iraq which saw the Southeast Asians finish second in Group A.
While the result sent a jubilant Thailand through to the knockout phase of the Championship for the first time, it also signalled the end of Iraq’s title challenge as they exited the competition in the wake of three draws.
Akira Nishino’s charges, who qualified alongside table-topping Australia, will now meet the winners from Group B where Saudi Arabia, Syria and Qatar are all still in contention to advance.
Bangkok: Qatar head coach Felix Sanchez will lead his team into their final Group B meeting with already-eliminated Japan on Wednesday knowing they must secure a win to stand a chance of advancing to the quarter-finals of the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020.
Sanchez’s side have drawn both of their opening games – against Syria and Saudi Arabia – to sit in third place in the standings on two points, two points adrift of the leading duo with just one round of matches remaining.
With the Syrians and Saudi Arabia due to face each other at Thammasat Stadium, Qatar's hopes are hanging by a thread as should the other match end in a draw, the head-to-head record of the three teams will come into play.
Preview MD3 – Group C: Uzbekistan vs Korea Republic
Pathum Thani: Korea Republic were the first team to secure a place in the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 quarter-finals, but head coach Kim Hak-bum has warned there will be no room for complacency when they face defending champions Uzbekistan in their final Group C match on Wednesday.
The two sides have relocated from Songkhla to Pathum Thani, but Kim hopes his side’s results will remain the same after recording wins over China PR and Islamic Republic of Iran with vastly different starting line-ups.